The Center for Education prepares teacher candidates to become knowledgeable and reflective practitioners. To reach this goal, the center has adopted the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards. Teacher candidates are required to develop an electronic portfolio that contains artifacts that demonstrate the following achievements:
Standard 1: Learner Development. The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
Standard 2: Learning Differences. The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
Standard 3: Learning Environments. The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
Standard 4: Content Knowledge. The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
Standard 5: Application of Content. The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.
Standard 6: Assessment. The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.
Standard 7: Planning for Instruction. The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
Standard 8: Instructional Strategies. The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop a deep understanding of content areas and their connections and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
Standard 9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice. The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his or her practice, particularly the effects of the teacher’s choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.
Standard 10: Leadership and Collaboration. The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth and to advance the profession.
Elementary Education (PK-4) and Special Education (PK-12)
Students majoring or seeking certification in this field typically pursue teaching careers in prekindergarten through grade four and/or special education prekindergarten through grade twelve. Students pursue an Elementary Education: The Early Years degree and teacher certification in early education (PK–4) and special education (PK–12). The curriculum consists of 90 credits in education and 44 credits in the arts and sciences (humanities, science, and social science) for a total of 134 credits. In this program, which received a special designation by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to be a “Promising Model” and “Innovative Practice,” students will prepare to meet the demands of today’s diverse, inclusive, and technology-driven schools.
Community Engaged Teacher Education (CETE)
The Community Engaged Teacher Education (CETE) program represents a culturally responsive framework that is embedded throughout the Education degree program. CETE culminates during senior year, with a block of service learning courses integrated around the theme of social justice. In CETE, the development of cultural proficiency, culturally responsive pedagogy, and civic engagement within a community of practice support our goal of social justice education. The CETE program also aims to simultaneously increase teacher candidates’ pedagogical content knowledge and accommodate culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) and cultural proficiency through service learning.
CETE will accomplish this goal through the contributions of all stakeholders (Widener faculty, Stetser Elementary teachers, Chester Upland School District, and the community mentors of Chester). This team contributes their varied assets and expertise as equal partners in the development of CETE.
Teacher candidates are immersed in the school and community using interdisciplinary themes to connect the theoretic bases of their coursework with the reality of the classroom through CRP. Their courses include literacy education, special education, science methods, and urban anthropology. Field work occurs in Stetser classrooms while course work is held at the Asbury AME Church. The interdisciplinary content of coursework and relationships with community mentors will help our teacher candidates realize the importance of real connection with their students within the context of their community.
As an integrated set of service learning courses, teacher candidates will develop characteristics of responsible citizenship and leadership while applying course content in the context of an identified community need. Service learning is a required component of these courses.
Each CETE course focuses on different facets of teaching in a diverse, urban environment utilizing an immersion experience that identifies and utilizes the assets found in the community to increase all Stetser students’ integrated knowledge bases (science, literacy, special education, and anthropology).
Admission to Teacher Candidacy
All students intending to pursue teacher certification in Pennsylvania must formally apply to become a teacher candidate upon completing 48 semester hours of coursework. Likewise, students seeking teacher certification or licensure in other states must also submit an application along the same timeline. This application process applies to students who enter the university majoring in education as well as those who later switch into the major. Transfer students are to consult with the director of teacher education and certification regarding their individual situation as soon as they are admitted to the university.
Applications for admission to teacher candidacy are available at the Center for Education and through the center’s website at www.widener.edu. Students should discuss their career plans with their major academic advisor early on so that they may plan accordingly to meet teacher candidacy admissions criteria, and subsequently Pennsylvania state certification requirements such as the basic skills assessment battery and GPA requirements.
The director of teacher education and certification makes the determination to admit students to teacher candidacy, in consultation with the advisor as needed, based on evidence that the students have completed or acquired the following:
- At least 48 semester hours of coursework.
- Passing scores on the basic skills assessment battery: Praxis CORE Assessment or PAPA. Transfer students are required to pass the basic skills battery and may have to delay their admittance to the teacher certification programs’ higher level courses until they pass this battery of tests. Consult with the Office of Teacher Education & Certification to determine exemption status based on SAT and/or ACT scores.
- At least 3 semester hours of English composition and 3 semester hours of English/American literature.
- At least 6 semester hours of college-level mathematics. A grade of “C” or better is required in these courses.
- A 2.8 GPA, but note that an overall 3.0 GPA is required to be recommended for certification upon completing any teacher preparation program in Pennsylvania.
- To meet the GPA standards set by the State Department of Education, a “C” or better is required in all education courses.
- A 2.9 overall GPA is required for student teaching in order to achieve the 3.0 overall GPA for licensure.
- Satisfactory scores on annual writing samples.
- A score of at least “emergent” on the portfolio review transition point II.
Students who do not apply for admission to teacher candidacy upon completing 60 semester hours of coursework will be barred from scheduling additional education courses: 300- and 400-level coursework or methods courses for secondary students who seek certification and licensure. Additionally, their applications to student teach will be denied.
All students in teacher education must submit an electronic portfolio four times during the following time frames:
Transition Point One
- Completed on Taskstream by the end of the first year.
Transition Point Two
- For students in all certification areas: by end of second year.
Transition Point Three
- For students in all certification areas: prior to student teaching.
Transition Point Four (two artifacts and rationale(s) for each standard)
- For students in all programs: By the end of student teaching.
Field-Based Experiences and Student Teaching
Field experiences in local schools are an important part of the preparation for future teachers. Therefore, the majority of education courses contain a field experience component that students must complete. Required field experiences involve observing and participating in a variety of school-related tutoring activities. Perhaps the most important reason for having field experiences is to allow students to confirm, through actually working in schools, whether or not they want to pursue a career in education.
Because successful completion of field experiences is required by Pennsylvania state standards, and they are so integral to the certification program, students must arrange their schedules so that all other activities (including work and/or participation in athletics and other collegiate extracurricular programs) do not interfere with these field and teaching experiences.
Prior to engaging in any field experience, education majors must obtain background clearances as mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and submit them to Castlebranch. Secondary certification students must also submit copies of these three clearances through Castlebranch. The required clearances are the Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Records Check (Act 34), the Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151), the Federal Criminal History Record (FBI Fingerprinting – Act 114, and the National Sex Offender Register Verification (NSOR). Clearances must be less than one year old. In some cases, districts may require more recent clearances. Students are directed to complete their clearances in the summer months for the following academic year. Transfer students will need new clearances at the time of their admission to Widener. Once obtained, visit the Office of Teacher Education and Certification’s website for clearance information https://sites.widener.edu/otec/. Each clearance has its own cost and processing turnaround time, so students should carefully plan ahead to obtain these three clearances. Without clearances on file, students will not be able to fully participate in the ED courses, which will likely impact the grade earned for the course. Questions about criminal background clearances may be directed to the secretary for teacher education and certification at 610-499-4373.
Special Note: The Center for Education maintains a strict dress code policy for all students engaged in field experiences. The policy calls for appropriate attire, which includes professional business casual attire. Please be mindful of length of a dress, skirts, shirt or jacket and allow for appropriate body coverage. Students may be asked to leave a site for violating the dress code policy. Sweats, jeans, sneakers, and casual clothing are not permitted.
Student teaching is a 14-week, full-time immersive experience in which students get the opportunity to work in schools with cooperating teachers in the field with the support of a Widener University Supervisor. Upon satisfactory completion of all prescribed courses and fulfillment of Admittance to Teacher Certification requirements, qualifying students are instructed to complete a student teaching application. Student teachers are assigned at the discretion of the Director of Teacher Education and Certification to schools based on location, program area, and placement and supervisor availability.
Applications to student teach are due as follows:
- Fall: First day in February (semester prior)
- Summer: First Friday in March (semester prior)
- Spring: First Friday in April (year prior)
*Summer placements are only permitted under special circumstances and at the discretion of the director of teacher education and certification.*
Students who have not applied for admission to teacher candidacy are not allowed to student teach. Those students who are declared ineligible for teacher candidacy for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania should consult with their academic advisor or the director of teacher education and certification about alternatives, including switching to the non-certification track in Education.
A student cannot participate in student teaching without the approval of both the director of teacher education and certification and the student’s academic advisor. A GPA of 2.9 must be achieved before approval for student teaching. Approval to student teach is based on whether students have made progress toward meeting all requirements for student teaching. These requirements include the successful completion of all field experiences, all required professional education courses with a “C” or better, the writing sample requirement, maintaining an overall GPA of 2.9, and the development of a portfolio according to InTASC standards.
Seniors in the Pre-K4/SPED program will participate in the Community Engaged Teacher Education (CETE) program beginning in the fall semester of the senior year, followed by the student teaching semester in the spring semester, providing teacher candidates a full year of public-school residency and teaching before graduating.
Please note that it is mandatory for all student teachers to participate in a portfolio development and review process. Students who do not achieve a score of at least proficient cannot earn an “A” for student teaching, and they may not be recommended for certification.
Student Teaching Abroad
Students who qualify for student teaching are welcome to apply for a student teaching experience in another country pending health and safety protocols. Students will complete the first half of their student teaching program in the regular program at Widener if they are seeking certification in Elementary Education and/or Special Education. If selected, they can complete the second half of their student teaching experience in the primary or secondary schools abroad under the auspices of a cooperating university. Students will be selected for the program via application, interview process, and review of academic credentials.
A Center for Education faculty member will orient students, prior to their placement, regarding the culture, expectations, and guidelines for teaching in the public and private elementary and secondary schools. While in the foreign placement, students will be supervised by a member of the faculty of the host university and be expected to communicate via video conference with faculty at Widener as requested. They will also be under the direction of a cooperating teacher from the elementary/secondary school in which they are doing their student teaching.
Child Development Center Laboratory School
The Center for Education runs the Widener University Child Development Center, a full-time laboratory preschool for children three to six years of age. Many students majoring in Elementary and Special Education complete field experiences for their undergraduate courses in education at this school. The school is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a nursery school and by the Welfare Department as a child care center. The Child Development Center is an ACEI (Association for Childhood Education International) nationally accredited program.
Widener Partnership Charter School
The Widener Partnership Charter School is a university-based public school and part of the Chester Upland School District. Students in the Center for Education may also have the opportunity to complete field experiences and/or student teaching at the Charter School.
Undergraduate majors in the Center for Education must take two writing enriched courses from the College of Arts and Sciences and two courses from the following: ED 207 , ED 302 , ED 413 , ED 414.
Students seeking teacher certification from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania must satisfy the following criteria before being recommended:
- Be formally admitted to teacher candidacy status.
- Take and pass a basic skills assessment battery, Praxis CORE or PAPA, or qualifying scores on SAT or ACT prior to formal entry into the teacher certification program and prior to taking professional core courses (300 and 400 level coursework). Please meet with your advisor for guidance.
- Complete an array of courses that provide a rich and varied background necessary for the profession.
- Successfully pass all field experiences.
- Successfully complete the student teaching experience.
- Complete all requirements for a bachelor’s degree.
- Successfully complete the writing sample requirements.
- Pass the portfolio requirement with at least a score of proficient.
- Earn a passing score on the PECT or Praxis II content tests as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- Be approved by the director of undergraduate education and appropriate faculty members.
- Achieve a 2.9 GPA prior to student teaching semester.
Bachelor’s Degrees in Education Curriculum Information
- Due to possible revisions by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the following curriculum ladders are meant only as guides for the programs. Changes may occur and will be communicated through each student’s advisor.
- All education students must have criminal record checks, child abuse, National Sex Offender Registry Verification (NSOR), and FBI fingerprints clearances on file in the Office of Teacher Education and Certification prior to the first ED class (education students must renew clearances each summer, including the summer before entering Widener in preparation for field experiences). Failure to have these records will result in a reduction in a course grade. Students not participating in field experiences in ED courses that require it will not meet minimum expectations for these courses.
- Admission for student teaching requires an overall 2.9 GPA and a completed attempt to pass PECT or PRAXIS II content tests.
- PA certificates do not guarantee another state will grant a teaching certificate. For direction and assistance in planning for an out-of-state certificate, contact the Office of Teacher Education and Certification at 610-499-4630.
ProgramsBachelor of Arts